August 13, 2009
Bud Light: What goes around finally comes around
At last month’s beer summit it was the brew of choice for the leader of the free world, Barack Obama. It is the best-selling beer in the United States and a close relative of the world’s best-selling beer. Yet, the headlines this week have been decidedly negative.
“How Bud Light lost its sense of humor-and, subsequently, sales. Wary of 3% drop for its biggest brand, A-B dials down ‘drinkability’” reported Advertising Age. “Anheuser refreshes Bud Light campaign. Taking on weaker sales, brewer seeks buzz by pouring more humor into new round of TV ads” said The Wall Street Journal. [pic]
First of all, was it really humor that built the Bud Light brand? No. Second of all, have Bud Light sales really fallen? No.
Lastly, should Bud Light switch its strategy away from drinkability? No.
What is a Bud Light?
Bud Light is just a watered down version of Budweiser. That is what the average consumer thinks. That is why line extensions are always intrinsically cannibalistic. The best prospective customer of Bud Light is a Budweiser drinker who wants to avoid the calories and bloat of regular Budweiser. [pic]
By drinking Bud Light, Joe Six-Pack gets to keep his Budweiser & Clydesdales and just loses some calories. Same applies to Jane Six-Pack. Since all major beer brands used line-extensions to move into the emerging light-beer category, the leader of the light category is obviously a line-extension. And because no pure light-beer brands were launched, the consumer sees light beers as a flavor variation rather than a different brand. Much like what has happened in cola with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. Being first is usually best, but not always. Even though Bud Light was one of the last line-extensions launched, it has become by far the most successful. Which is exactly the same as what happened with Diet Coke. The last of the diet-cola...
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